Emma Cotta

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Emma Cotta (born September 28, 1880 in Rudolstadt , † March 18, 1957 in Berlin ), actually Emma Zitzmann , was a. a. Actress ( USA , Germany ), fashion illustrator ( France , Germany), editor (Germany) and sculptor (Germany).


Emma Zitzmann was the daughter of the porcelain painter Christoph Eduard Zitzmann (* July 4, 1837 in Steinheid ; † April 19, 1904 in Frankfurt am Main ) and his wife Friederica Paulline Rosamunde Straube (* March 21, 1842 in Siegmundsburg ; † October 21, 1933 in Rudolstadt ).

After attending the community school, she started working as a porcelain painter in her father's workshop in Rudolstadt at the age of 14, an activity that she interrupted several times. a. to work (at the age of 16) one year in a household, one year in the "commercial" and temporarily as a nurse in Brussels .

As a companion of a well-off lady, Emma Zitzmann traveled via Paris and London to New York in the autumn of 1902 , where she earned her living as a factory seamstress, house tailor and porcelain painter from 1903 and devoted herself to acting in self-tuition. It is believed, without solid evidence, that she adopted the name "Cotta" at this point in time, right after her arrival in the United States. She was engaged as an actress in St. Louis , Missouri (1904; 1905) and, after she had been employed by a millionaire in the summer of 1905 as a partner, in Saint Paul , Minnesota (1905; 1906). She then returned to New York and temporarily resumed the profession of house tailor.

In 1907 Emma Cotta returned to Europe as a partner of a married couple via Rotterdam , Amsterdam and The Hague , where she changed her place of residence several times until 1910. She stayed temporarily in Bad Kissingen , then in Berlin - where she found a job as a house tailor, took acting classes and looked unsuccessfully for a job - and finally went to Paris in the autumn of 1908. There she turned to the fashion industry , continued to work as a tailor, trained as a fashion illustrator, worked for various fashion houses and wrote articles as a fashion correspondent for Berlin and American newspapers.

A few years of sedentary life followed on the Weißen Hirsch (1910-1918), a suburb of Dresden incorporated in 1921 . The fashion illustrator, editor and editor of a fashion publisher and fashion correspondent for other publishers wrote various writings here, such as “General prior knowledge of tailoring” and “The men's tailoring”. In addition to these activities, she devoted herself to acting herself again from 1917 and appeared in Dresden and in the "stage".

In search of an engagement, Emma Cotta went to Berlin in August 1918. She continued to write as a fashion correspondent, but also worked as a home seamstress again. In autumn 1919 she had an engagement in Halberstadt .

In October 1920, the 40-year-old woman, who was previously committed to drama, exhibited doll sculptures in the Friedmann & Weber gallery in Berlin. From June 1921 - although she appeared for three months at the Großer Schauspielhaus in Berlin during this time - she began to occupy herself intensively with sculpture as an autodidact . The great artistic success that the actress, who now shuttles back and forth between Dresden and Berlin, had hoped for came from her work as a sculptor. Their motto was: “There must always be [...] an increase, because there is no ultimate ability. If one is completed, then one is over ” (“ Künstler am Dresdner Elbhang II ”).

From September 1921 Emma Cotta created her first sculptures , busts and masks , from the summer of 1923 she was able to book portraits.In 1924 she settled in what is now Wolfshügelstraße 26 in Dresden's Oberloschwitz district, where she stayed until 1931. In June 1925, the portrait mask of the artist's mother was created in Rudolstadt / Dresden . Numerous commissioned works followed, including a. for the parish of Köthen , where Johann Sebastian Bach had worked as Kapellmeister .

Study trips took Emma Cotta to Italy and Central America and - thanks to the mediation of the Prussian Academy of the Arts and the German "Vereinigung Carl Schurz " - back to the USA (1931/32).

In addition to the apartment in Dresden, from 1924 she also had a permanent home in the west of Berlin, near the Kurfürstendamm . She lived in Berlin-Grunewald ( Halensee ) at Auguste-Viktoria-Strasse 4 and from 1945 at Caspar-Theyß-Strasse 14.

In May 1956, the Berlin Senate favored you "in view of the outstanding services you have earned as a sculptor" with a monthly honorary pension. Emma Cotta died in Berlin in 1957 at the age of 76.


  • 1922: Great Berlin art exhibition
  • 1924: Dresden Art Gallery
  • 1927: Künstlerhaus Berlin / Galerie Hinrichsen
  • 1927: “The creative woman in the visual arts”, Berlin, Galerie Wiltschek
  • 1927: "Women's Associations of the 20th Century", Hamburg, State School of Applied Arts
  • 1929: Baumbach Gallery, Dresden
  • 1929: Künstlerhaus Berlin
  • 1929: "The beautiful Berlin", German Art Association
  • 1929: "The woman of today", Berlin (also 1931)
  • 1930: "Das Kind", Berlin (also 1933, 1934, 1937, 1940, 1942)
  • 1936: Gurlitt Gallery, Berlin


Busts and masks etc. a. from:


  • Ada Beil: The Creativity of Women, I. Theoretical Part: An Attempt on the Problem of Personality, II. Practical Part: Depicted on the life of the sculptor Emma Cotta with 6 panels , within "Individual and Community", writings of the International Society for Individual Psychology, edited by Dr. Alfred Adler (Vienna), Dr. Leonhard Seif (Munich), Otto Kaus (Berlin), Munich 1926.
  • Ada Beil: Herbe Plastik - From the work of the sculptor Emma Cotta , in: Frau und Gegenwart , issue No. 21/1927.
  • Dr. Margot Rieß: On the artistic ethos of women , in: Frau und Gegenwart , issue No. 23/1927.
  • General artist lexicon - the visual artists of all times and peoples , publisher: K. G. Saur Verlag, founded by co-editor Günter Meißner, Munich 1991 ff.
  • Association of Berlin Women Artists 1867 e. V. (editor): Käthe, Paula and the whole rest (biographies), Berlin 1992.
  • Artists on the Dresden Elbhang II (biographies), publisher: Ortsverein Loschwitz-Wachwitz e. V., local association Pillnitz e. V., Beautification Association Weißer Hirsch-Oberloschwitz e. V., Dresden 2007.

Web links


  1. The reason for the name change is given by Ada Beil in the artist biography as follows: “The 'Z' of her name, which allowed her children to finish at exams and similar occasions, was always a thorn in the mother's side - and the ' Z ', which the daughter converted into a' C ', which stood at the beginning of the alphabet, was apparently an insignificant symbol and yet remained a symbol that forced the artist to subordinate her will to unconsciously raise it to the guideline of her life. "
  2. The stay in the USA is in the period before, between or after the study trips to Italy and Central America.
  3. Emma Cotta Zdenka Ticharich (Hungarian pianist and composer)